The events in Mexico

December 10, 2019

“The worst part was not knowing if I would come back to my home, my friends, my education… all I could do was wait and hope,” Laurens said. He seemed weary to begin the explanation of his time in Mexico. 

It was a 1,121-mile drive from Southwest Kansas to Durango, Mexico. The ride was long, but Laurens liked the time he got to spend with his sisters in the black truck, packed full with his family’s belongings. Even though his mom still tried to spark controversy with unnecessary comments, Laurens didn’t mind it because he was going to see his grandma and take his senior pictures. 

During the first two days, Laurens was either at his grandparents’ house catching up with them or at his grandpa’s new bar, cleaning before opening hours. He loved the time he spent with his family and helping his grandparents, but these experiences were interrupted by fear.  

Eager to get back to Kansas and not miss the last part of summer there, Laurens made sure to keep up on his calendar and his mom’s agenda. After asking her when the family would return home, he heard a statement that sent chills down his spine and made him sick to his stomach. 

Preston Burrows
With this license, Laurens was granted access back into the United States. The star in the corner of his license showed he had a REAL ID. This was enough for him to cross the border without his other documents. All he had left to check off of his list was his dad’s note of consent allowing Kris’s passage to the U.S.

“We aren’t going to come back and I mean it,” Perla said. It seemed that she hoped these words would make him learn a lesson. 

Laurens was worried, but he did not think he had to do anything at the time because it seemed unreal. He asked the same question every day and would get the same cold response. 

Still in disbelief at the idea that his mom would keep him in another country, Laurens did not take action to come home until it had been almost two weeks into his visit. No appointments were made for his pictures or the baptism. It was all a lie. 

“I didn’t know she would go this far just because of who I was. I was lied to and there was nothing I could do about it. I remember crying for days because I was so helpless and I wanted to go home. I couldn’t just take my birth certificate and social security card,” Laurens said. “My mom has already locked them up in my grandma’s closet. I was f***** and alone; all I had was my boyfriend who was trying to help but what could he do so far away?” Laurens explained. 

It wasn’t just an easy go home or stay there scenario. It was much deeper than that. If his mom was not going to let him go home, he was going to take matters into his own hands. He wanted to make sure his future was not taken away because of what gender he liked. 

He asked his grandparents for help to find a way back, but that was a dead end. They kept the mindset that he needed to mind his mother, even if he didn’t agree. Both Laurens and his mother did not tell them the full story about the ongoing fight: his sexuality. 

Laurens was scared that they would have the same opinion as his mom and his mom knew it was Laurens’ responsibility to speak his truth. Even if she did force the matter with comments suggesting that he was hiding something. 

As a last resort, he went to his biological dad’s house and asked him to sign a paper that allowed him to cross the border by himself. This document was crucial since Laurens was only 17. 

This broke his heart even more. Having to go to the man who abandoned him and his mother, leaving his little hands to pick up the broken pieces instead of his mom, seemed almost impossible.

Searching with his cracked iPhone 8 plus, connected to unstable Wi-Fi that could be knocked out by a heavy gust of wind, Laurens found ways to get home without a passport, birth certificate or his social security. 

His license was all he needed. 

Laurens bought the first bus ticket out of Durango and met his dad at the bus station, where he received the signed document that granted him permission back to the United States. He left with $100 his grandma gave him and the 3000 pesos he was able to steal when his mom was at the store. 

The bus pulled away and Laurens was split between two emotions. He was glad he was going home but what about his family? His sisters, his grandparents and the woman he brought the milk to…

Laurens left Mexico Sep. 1, 2019. 

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